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The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,708 ratings  ·  169 reviews
Ronald Rolheiser makes sense of what is frequently a misunderstood word: spirituality. In posing the question "What is spirituality?" Father Rolheiser gets quickly to the heart of common difficulties with the subject, and shows through compelling anecdotes and personal examples how to channel that restlessness, that deep desire, into a healthy spirituality.
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 20th 1999 by Doubleday Books
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  2,708 ratings  ·  169 reviews

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Maria Elisabeth
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
When it's good, it's very very good, and when it's bad, it's horrid.

It's mostly good. :)
Cameron M
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I've got some mixed feelings about this book. A dear priest friend of mine gave this to me to read back in college several years back, and I lost track of it. Recently, I picked it up again when I was perusing through my books to grab another one to read.

There's good, and there's bad. Another review here mentioned that, "when it's good, it's very good. When it's bad, it's horrid." I think those words are true here in regards this book. When I'm leaping for joy after having finished a book becau
David Clark
This was a book recommended by a wise and thoughtful friend and it did not disappoint. I have used it for my morning devotionals and both the author's craft and content have been a rich source of delight and stimulation. I awarded this book five stars but a better measure might be the copious margin notes, underlining, and large number of colored reminder tags now peeking out from the text.

Rolheiser writes from a Roman Catholic point of view but is remarkably open handed. This is not to suggest
Gary Cleveland
Finished reading it today.
One gem to share. "Spirituality is about what we do with the fire inside us....."
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, spiritual
This book had some great insights. Rolheiser begins by defining Spirituality in very broad terms and showing how everyone - religious or not - HAS a Spiritual side. There is a very interesting part where he compares three women: Mother Teresa, Princess Diana and Janis Joplin, showing how they may seem very different, but it really all comes down to how they dealt with their Spirituality. This part comes at the beginning and really got me into the book.

He then focuses specifically on the componen
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in a nonbias book about Christianity
Recommended to Nicole by: Sister Stoner who taught Catholic Vision in college
An intelligently written book about Jesus and Christianity. I like this book because it offers up Christianity in a positive light, not commercialized, no hint of any social conservatism/right of center politics, and most importantly no littering of fundamentalist views. The Holy Longing speaks about spirituality in regards to Christianity instead of 'religion,' which is why I gave this book a change and I'm glad that I did. There is no phony Christian agenda evident, just a book about discoveri ...more
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps one of the best spiritual books ever written. This book really provides a persuasive argument for the human need for spirituality and a sound foundation for anyone who wants to practice an authentic Christian faith, especially the Catholic faith. It gave me a vocabulary and appreciation for the faith I have been practicing and challenged me to go deeper on several levels. Great and easy read that can transform you very quickly!
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: catholic
This is a great book to offer people who have lost their Christian way or are interested to Christianity. The author is a Roman Catholic priest and brings in the joy and fullness of faith of the Catholic faith in certain parts. His perspective of certain issues has really opened my eyes. I do find a stretch to some of his conclusions to Biblical readings but his stories paint a great picture and helped me relate to his points to Christianity.
Jan Petrozzi
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
By far, this is one of the best books I have read. Rolheiser presents a look at spirituality in a way that, until now, was unfamiliar to me. I cannot think of anyone I know who would not benefit from reading this book. I want to send it to all of my friends. It is lovely. Received an assignment to read certain chapters each week for a theology class and I couldn’t help but to jump ahead and finish it way before it was due. Hated to put it down to attend to my other assignments.
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Exceptional, well written, balanced, so inspiring, with a deep vision about the dynamics into the life of the spirit... I do recommend it fully!
Paul Dubuc
Aug 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
Though I found a some important things with which to disagree in this book, overall I found it a very compelling and enriching approach to Christian spirituality. Rolheiser's writing is very lucid and wise. He defines spirituality along the lines of things all people experience within themselves. It's "more about whether or not we can sleep at night, than about whether or not we go to church." It's what shapes our actions, what we do with our desire (eros), whether or not we can shape it in a cr ...more
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Spirituality is, ultimately about what we do with that desire...about what we do with the fire inside of do we channel it, the disciplines and habits we chose to live by, will either lead to a greater integration or disintegration within our bodies, minds, the way we are related to God [and] others...”

Very Helpful.
Whitney Holley
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and thought out. I took my time reading this and found myself thinking about certain passages throughout my day. Rolheiser makes the case for combining religion and spirituality and how you can't have one without the other. He is able to challenge his reader in a loving way that makes you trust him and try to understand his point of view. I look forward to reading more from him and plan to come back to this book when I need to be reminded to look for peace within myself and m ...more
Joe Kimmell
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Overall I loved it. Being protestant I don't agree with all positions or ways of thinking about every subject, but that being said... WOW. I LOVED it. The opening on DESIRE and EROS and placing those in deeply important places in our Christ-following categories is HUGE. Your spirituality is what you do with your desire. So Good. The way he writes engages your doubt and your secularism and confronts them while inviting your whole humanity into the process. Really excellent. The chapter on the spi ...more
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As is frequently the case, this book came to me just at a time when I needed it the most. Father Rolheiser's loving, intelligent writings are the perfect antidote for the "crazy Christians" who seem to be the public face of faith in the US right now. His God is loving, intelligent, and expansive--I will return to this book many times when I need a "tune-up" from cynicism and reassurance that ignorance and intolerance are never a part of following Christ. ...more
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Valuable book. I will need to read again to digest. An easy read but concepts deserve contemplation. One of the few books that actually provides a unique and authentic perspective. Not cliche or tired.
Audra Gayle
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book about every other year. It's one of the best books on spirituality that I've come across. The chapter that I read over and over is on the paschal mystery. I need the reminder that our Christian life is one of constant transformation: death, resurrection, and new life. ...more
Oct 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Ronald Rolheiser wants us to redefine spirituality. Most of us think of spirituality as something that happens in the locus of our mind through our beliefs, Rolheiser believes that spirituality is better understood as our desire, “an unquenchable fire, a restlessness, a longing, a disquiet, a hunger, a loneliness, a gnawing nostalgia…”

“Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with that desire… Spirituality is about what we do with our unrest.” While Rolheiser’s language might feel raw, he
I am not sure what to say about to this book. It had come highly recommended to me, and an author I follow quoted it. It is about a deeper, more authentic Christian Spirituality. The fact that it is written by a Catholic priest did not, on the face of things, put me off, as I am open to reading from a wide variety of Christian Traditions. It's greatest strength is in it's final two chapters, "A Spirituality of Sexuality," and "Sustaining Ourselves in the Spiritual Life."

Yet for all this book had
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Ronald Rolheiser, of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is a seminary president, teacher, and author who has written numerous books on spirituality. This book is written for any interested reader, Christian or otherwise, and is in an accessible and non-academic style. Rolheiser's premise is that spirituality is, at the very bottom, a primal desire. Every drive in human beings is a part of human spirituality. Sexuality is not excluded, nor is the environment, work, or any other facet of a ...more
Larry Wood
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Plenty of inspiring insights into aspects of Christian spirituality that we rarely visualize so clearly. Fr. Rolheiser gives innumerable concrete examples of the points that he is making. One example: the difference between praying in a merely theistic way and praying in a decidedly Christian, incarnational way.
"...if my mother is sick, and I pray that she gets better, but do not drive her to see the doctor, I have prayed as a theist, not as a Christian. I have not given any incarnational flesh,
Craig Bergland
I really wanted to like this book. I really wanted to like Fr. Rolheiser, so much so that I tried to get around his sing-song voice by reading this book for the second time and hoping for different results.

Did you ever go talk to a salesman at a small used car lot? If you have, you may well have gotten the feeling that the salesman would say whatever he had to in order to sell you even the worst junker on the lot. That's the feeling I get when the author tries to convince me that it's so import
Christine Arata
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book answered so many questions I had about the Catholic church and spirituality.

The author answers common complaints people have about attending church. He gives the example of one man who said, "There is no real intimacy among us. We are too cold, too masculine. I'm forever lonely and nobody much cares!" After the man finally sought counseling, the priest-psychologist explained to him, "What you are really looking for is not to be found in a religious order. You are looking for a lover,
Jackie St Hilaire
When all is said and done: "We come from God, we return to God".

But it's the years in between that make us grow, sometimes it is forced growth and other times we choose. In the last part of life is when most of the choices have to be made because if we haven't figured it out yet, we could severally damage our inner soul. Better to be prepared.

Ron Rohlheiser in his book "Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality" gives us hope that all is not lost, that maybe, just maybe, we have made
Sylvia Jeronimo
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are certain books in life that are liminal books- threshold books. When read, they have the mystical effect of helping you cross a threshold in your life; you manage to get unstuck and move several steps forward. And that is their power because life is meant to have a forward moving effect. Rolheiser’s chapters on the Incarnation, Ecclesiology and specifically the Pascal Mystery are brilliantly powerful and, if seriously pondered upon, life changing in their implications.
However, having s
Jodie Pine
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Spirituality is more about whether or not we can sleep at night than about whether or not we go to church. It is about being integrated or falling apart, about being within community or being lonely, about being in harmony with Mother Earth or being alienated from her. Irrespective of whether or not we let ourselves be consciously shaped by any explicit religious idea, we act in ways that leave us healthy or unhealthy, loving or bitter. What shapes our actions is our spirituality."

Some very int
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most engaging books I've read on Christian spirituality in some time. A friend asked Rolheiser to write a book they could hand on to others, and to read when they needed to be rekindled. It fills that bill. Good coverage on God among us (the incarnation); on the Christian community (Church); on the life, death and resurrection of Christ (the paschal mystery); on justice and peace; on sexuality. Sound thinking is backed up by many examples from the author's life or from other stories. ...more
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have loved reading Fr. Ron Rolheiser's articles in the Catholic Register, but was never expecting how thoroughly I would enjoy this book! His reflection on Spirituality and the "Longing of the Soul" hit home. Rolheiser makes a worthy case on why community is so important to all of us - one of our greatest needs and points to the Church community as necessary for us to live. Each chapter is laid out in an understandable but not simplistic way and is so enjoyable to read. I look forward to readi ...more
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it
While I enjoyed some of the chapters, most of the early part of this book was very heavy and required me to read and then let the book go for some time to "digest" the author's ideas. I had some real issues with a few of the chapters, specifically on social justice and spiritual sexuality, but that is most likely because my views are far more conservative that Rolheiser's. Overall, it was a thought-provoking book, even if I flat-out disagreed with some of his ideas. I suppose that is a good tens ...more
Kathryn Wickward
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this book, with the slight exception of the few pages where he talked about having a “right” conception of God. His 5 “non-negotiables: community worship, social action, the centrality of the Incarnation, private prayer, and personal morality (holding tension) are not new to students of the devout life, but he finds new facets to each one that filled out for me these areas of my spiritual life. Great for new Christians and those much farther along in the journey. It is a fast read but do ...more
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